What we often overlook is the influence of individual people on companies and even us. With Peter Thiel’s support for Donald Trump, we need to reflect our decisions online again, and finally need to draw the necessary conclusions.
Many of us in the web development industry indirectly live of Peter Thiel’s money. We use Facebook, we use PayPal, we use Salesforce, we use Asana, Stripe, OpenTable, Kickstarter, Lyft, Spotify or any other service, backed by Peter Thiel’s Venture Capital.
“I know this sounds bad but it’s the reality. 😕 Venture Capital is not just "great", it has consequences.”
Of course not all of these companies is necessarily doing bad things or supports Donald Trump directly. But they’ve taken the VC from a big investor to Donald Trump, and we all know that the one with the money also makes the rules. With taking VC you accept to comply with these rules and ultimately, if you succeed with the company support your VC-backer by giving him back the money multiple times.
As a logical conclusion, if you work for a company taking VC from Peter Thiel, you indirectly work for his fortune. If you buy or use a product from such company, you also support him. If you spread the love for such services, you support him. This sounds very harsh but sadly, that’s the reality.
But it’s on us to make the right decisions. We need to set our standards for ethics ourselves. You shouldn’t blame the government or other persons if someone like Trump succeeds (insert UK’s tories or Germany’s AFD party here). If your own ethics aren’t supporting those who actively fight against this kind of investments, against corruption and tax avoidance, you take part on the success of those people who play unfair.
But I don’t want to blame you. I want to blame me as well. Some decisions are easy to make, some are harder. My Web Development Reading List only accepts donations via PayPal—a company funded by Peter Thiel. I choose this because no other service worked as easy. And now you need to realize that Stripe is also funded by him. For some choices it’s harder to evade. But the first step is to realize that using this service isn’t great.
“We can create great web solutions without this money. It’s not even much harder. Just another mindset.”
Now as developers we are the ones responsible for web solutions. If we choose to use Facebook’s React.js framework for an application, we are responsible for the consequences. We indirectly support Facebook here, a company backed by … Peter Thiel. If we share how great Lyft or Spotify is, we spread the love for these services, indirectly giving the money to … Peter Thiel, Donald Trump.
“Before you choose a technology, make sure you and your client understands the ethical consequences.”
It’s unrealistic that we’re able to evade from this completely, but we can at least realize what and who we support here and acknowledge this. We can search for alternatives. We can tell our clients about this and try our best to not give users’ data to these services.